By Jennifer Olson, CFA, CFP

Senior Financial Analyst

The Apriem Advisors team attended the Schwab IMPACT 2017 conference last week in Chicago and got to see some of the world’s greatest influencers in economics, politics, technology, philanthropy and entertainment.

David Cameron, former prime minister of the United Kingdom, spoke about U.S. politics, regulation, immigration and reflected on the U.K.’s historical “Brexit” referendum to withdraw from the European Union. On the latter, he said he believes there’s an 80 percent chance that it will be fully implemented, but it was our own CIO Benjamin Lau’s question that took center stage. His query, which was voted the top question by the audience, asked the prime minister: “Goldman Sachs’ CEO recently called for the UK to have another vote on Brexit to make sure it is the will of the people. Do you agree?” Watch the video to hear Mr. Cameron’s response.

Other notable speakers included Michael Lewis, bestselling author of “Moneyball” and “The Big Short,” who dismissed Bitcoin as simply a “pump and dump” strategy; Theo Epstein, Chicago Cubs president of baseball operations; Mick Ebeling, humanitarian and founder of Not Impossible Lab, a company who makes technology for the sake of humanity; and Liz Ann Sonders, Schwab’s chief investment strategist who discussed her economic outlook.

We also participated in a variety of insightful side sessions. One of Apriem President Rhonda Ducote’s favorites was with Greg Valliere, chief political strategist of Horizon Investments. Notably, he said it was unlikely that anything on estate tax will happen in 2018.

Our vice president, Landon Yoshida, CRPC, attended a retirement planning session that focused on issues facing retirees and senior investors as well as a session about internship programs that give college students progressive, hands-on experience in the finance world.

And I had the pleasure of attending the “Women’s Think Tank” with Rhonda to gain more knowledge on how to advance Apriem’s Women of Wisdom (WOW) program, an initiative that is near and dear to our hearts. With the financial industry in dire need of female advisors, it was interesting hear about different perspectives on how to encourage and mentor female college students interested in financial careers.

IMPACT concluded with a special event that transformed McCormick Place into a version of the Chicago Social Club, with rising R&B superstar Leon Bridges headlining. Business media outlets such as CNBC, Bloomberg Radio, InvestmentNews and Investopedia covered the entire conference.

Click here to see some of the conference photos.